Microsoft Direct3D Scores Big With Game Developers

REDMOND, Wash., April 28, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that only 10 months after its release, the Microsoft® Direct3D
API is being incorporated into more than 50 cutting-edge 3-D game titles. Much of the technology’s success comes from Microsoft’s close cooperation with the game development community, which has resulted in new features and enhancements for Direct3D that reduce the development time of 3-D-enabled games.

Direct3D, a powerful rendering engine for real-time 3-D graphics, is a key component of the DirectX
set of APIs, Microsoft’s unified set of interactive multimedia APIs. The success of Direct3D is important for the game development industry, which benefits from a common interface for 3-D hardware acceleration and device support. The availability of Direct3D has enabled PC game users for the first time to achieve arcade-level performance through games powered by Direct3D and other DirectX APIs, including these:

  • DirectDraw® API, for accelerated 2-D graphics

  • DirectSound® 3D API, for 3-D positional sound

  • DirectInput
    API, for force feedback support and alternative input devices

  • DirectPlay® API, for online games with up to 256 players, including support for major service providers

DirectX has been an enormously successful API. Hundreds of DirectX-enabled applications are currently in use, and an installed base of millions of desktops run the Microsoft Windows operating system and use DirectX-optimized hardware devices. In the game industry alone, DirectX-enabled titles accounted for more than half of the sales among the top 30 1996 holiday PC games, according to industry analysts PC Data and 4th Wave Inc. A key to this success is Direct3D, which has enabled developers to inject their games with stunning, real-time 3-D imagery and unprecedented interactivity.

“Direct3D more than any other technology is driving the development of dynamic new
3-D games for the personal computer,” said John Latta of 4th Wave. “With new features such as DrawPrimitive, which make Direct3D even easier and quicker to implement, we can expect to see more and more Direct3D-enabled games available with unparalleled performance and compatibility for end users.”

“DrawPrimitive mode in Direct3D is what our game developers have been looking for in a 3-D API,” said Keith McCurdy, director of technology, North American Studios, Electronic Arts. “Its ease of use and straightforward API is at the correct level for high-performance game developers.”

“Realtime 3-D rendering is critical to the PC gaming experience,” said Mark Keenan, games evangelist at Intel Corp. “For years developers have focused on optimized 3-D performance for their games. Using Direct3D software, developers can automatically exploit the high performance of Intel’s MMX technology and the future AGP interface. The combination of Intel’s technology and Direct3D ensures end users will have the best 3-D games experience.”

“Three-D acceleration has become a must-have in the world of games,” said Scott Sellers, vice president of engineering for 3Dfx Interactive Inc. “Direct3D gives developers a common API for taking advantage of advanced features such as mipmapping, alpha blending and bilinear filtering, yielding impressive titles that run at 30 frames per second on our Voodoo Graphics hardware.”

“The success of Direct3D in the games industry spans 3-D application tools, 3-D graphics accelerators and devices, and 3-D game titles,” said Leslie Evans, product manager for DirectX at Microsoft. “The DirectX team is working closely with the games community to make Direct3D an even more powerful tool for creating the next generation of 3-D titles to rock the world of gamers.”

Powerful New Features of Direct3D

Microsoft’s close cooperation with game developers has resulted in new features in Direct3D that address specific game development needs. One example is DrawPrimitive, a compact yet extremely powerful set of essential low-level functions for drawing 3-D triangles, lines and points onto DirectDraw-based surfaces. DrawPrimitive provides an easy-to-use alternative to lengthy execution buffers and is scalable to deliver maximum performance for both software-only and hardware-accelerated systems.

A key benefit of DrawPrimitive is ease of implementation for developers with little experience with 3-D. For more experienced 3-D developers, DrawPrimitive offers rapid prototyping, easier debugging and clearer optimization strategies. Many of DrawPrimitive’s methods are ideally suited for game development. For example, SetRenderTarget makes it easier to render to alternate surfaces, such as rendering background scenes to a rearview mirror in an auto racing game.

Microsoft has also made improvements to documentation in Direct3D. Refined documentation and clearer sample code provide easier, faster implementation for developers. Support for DirectX by nearly every 3-D graphic accelerator for the games industry, along with driver conformance and certification, provides trouble-free, plug-and-play setup and configuration for end users.

Scalable, Extensible Architecture

Microsoft is committed to ensuring that Direct3D will scale easily to successive generations of PC architecture: MMX technology, AGP and “Talisman” rendering features such as sort-independent anti-aliasing, anisotropic texture filtering and range-based fog. In addition, the highly scalable architecture of Direct3D allows software developers to integrate 3-D graphics with other multimedia types, such as 3-D sound and MPEG video.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Direct3D, DirectX, DirectDraw, DirectSound, DirectInput, DirectPlay, Windows, Hellbender and Monster Truck Madness are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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